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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: GRETZKY HELPS FAN CELEBRATE BIRTHDAY

Tuesday, 12.23.2008 / 5:11 AM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky was not a happy camper after his team’s loss to Edmonton on Monday. Eleven penalties will do that to a hockey coach.

Head Coach Wayne Gretzky poses with 98-year-old Hilda Parker and family before the Coyotes took on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
A few hours before the game, however, Gretzky was in a good mood. So was Hilda Parker, a 98-year-old Oilers fan whose family had asked the Coyotes if she could visit with Gretzky before the game. Hilda, you see, is turning 99 years old on Dec. 28 and her family felt there was no better person to help her celebrate her birthday this year than No. 99 himself.

Gretzky wholeheartedly agreed to the visit and spoke to Hilda and some of her family members for a few moments. It was a touching scene. Happy Birthday Hilda!


It was good to see Daniel Winnik get back in the lineup after six games as a healthy scratch. Winnik didn’t make it into the scoring summary but it was his blocked shot and hustle that led to Martin Hanzal’s goal in the second period.


Rookie Kyle Turris told me he is bummed out that Avalanche star Joe Sakic is injured and won’t be playing tonight. Why? Because Turris has always wanted to be able to say he took a face-off against the future Hall-of-Famer.


How cold was it in Edmonton on Monday? Well, it was so cold my upper lip started bleeding for no reason. I have bloodstains on my Game Summary to prove it. Officially, I think it was like 25 degrees below zero or something crazy like that when we left.


I had to laugh while I listened to Coyotes radio analyst Tyson Nash sum up the spirited bout between Daniel Carcillo and Edmonton’s Jason Strudwick in the second period on Monday night with one simple line.

“That was a punch-in-the-face contest,” Nash said.


A lot of fans have written me asking if I think the young Coyotes will have enough mental and physical stamina to stay in the Western Conference playoff race all season. My answer is yes.

The coaching staff is taking steps to keep the players well-rested. For instance, some morning skates are being scratched to help keep the team fresh. Plus, Gretzky is playing most of the young players in key situations and they are gaining confidence daily. You can probably see that on the ice. I can sense it in the locker room.

Thanks for reading.

Dave
thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com



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